No one is exempt from the impact or effects of suicide. Some demographics are at a higher risk (a white, middle age man being one of the highest) but everyone is affected. We see children as young as 8 and individuals as advanced as 70 seeking help from LiFE OF HOPE. Chances are you know someone who has struggled with suicide ideation or struggles today. Maybe it’s even you. If this person died by suicide, would you…
a. be affected by their death?
b. wish you had taken additional steps to become educated, recognize the signs, and know your VOiCE could make a difference?
c. sadly face the fact… You are (and were) NOT immune?
d. All of the above.
If you answered “d.”, NOW is the time to take LiFE-Saving action.
Suicide – A Top Cause of Suffering
Based on all US death statistics, suicide ranks 10th. But, if we consider all individuals who’ve attempted suicide, that number skyrockets. There is an estimated number of 25 suicide attempts for each one completed. Had these attempts resulted in a completed suicide, suicide would rank as the top cause of death outpacing the current leader, heart disease, by 175%.
Suicide is the only cause of death on this list that is 100% preventable. But, to prevent these deaths, we need to identify and reach those individuals thinking about suicide.
YOU Can Make an Impact
Studies show 3.7% of the population thinks about suicide annually. The CDC estimates that for every person considering suicide, there are 6 close personal relationships that would be intimately affected by their death. Based on those statistics, there are more than 29,000 people in Washington county (22% of the population) that have a significant relationship with someone who has thought about suicide within the past year.
Odds are (almost 1 in 4) that someone you are close to – 1 of your 6 closest friends or family members – will think about ending their life by suicide this year. If you think you and those you love are immune, that’s more reason to take protective steps against suicidal action and loss. No one wants to be left wondering why they didn’t see it coming.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Why then, do we too often hide behind a veil of assumed protection or denial?
I understand. We each have enough to worry about in our lives. Why add one more thing to the list? But, did you know, your middle school student is more likely to die by suicide than a car accident? These data points crossed in 2014.
I have 3 teenage boys. They know 3 teenage boys who died by suicide in the past 365 days and 1 teenage boy who died in a car accident. Writing this is at least the 7th time I’ve shed tears over these 4 lives lost, their families that have a long journey of healing ahead of them, and for every child in school who may internalize these deaths in a way that negatively impacts their psychological health.
It’s comforting to believe suicide will not affect us, but eventually it catches up and we can’t remain unaffected by the avoidable deaths around us. We can choose whether to educate ourselves and be the solution or continue to cloak ourselves in that now tattered veil of protection.
It Takes a Community
We are in this together. All of us. There are thousands of individuals in our community whose personal experience and story could help another individual who’s suffering. Many maintain their silence due to the stigma associated with suicide ideation and attempt. Stigma isolates people and delays or prevents healing. The best way to lift stigma is via a united effort.
I’ve been honored to hear and meet some incredible individuals this year who have been working hard to eliminate stigma. I’m touched by their stories, I am grateful to them, and I’m a better person because of their VOiCE.
- Bob Jewel – Bob wrote about his personal journey of healing following his father’s suicide. His goal in sharing was to bring HOPE and healing to others. You can read his story in our February 21st, E-Newsletter.
- Karlee Gross – Karlee is a high school student and has survived a suicide attempt. She and her mom, Tricia Cull, shared their experience on The Morning Blend. This is a story every parent needs to hear. You can visit our Facebook page and click on “A Special Prom for a Great Cause” to view her appearance.
- Anthony Anderson – Anthony was the keynote speaker at LiFE OF HOPE’s 2nd Annual BEHIND THE MASK Brunch & Fashion Show. He trekked 2700 miles across America to bring awareness to the moral injury suffered by Veterans and bring about his own necessary healing. Those who attended (and I count myself lucky to be one) were truly inspired by his story.
What Can I Do?
You can help by becoming aware, knowing the facts, and uniting with the rest of your community to lift the stigma. You can help by using your VOiCE.
- Our last e-newsletter was emailed to 1,632 individuals. We have a population of 132 thousand in Washington County – forward this issue to a friend (co-worker, family member, or acquaintance!) and encourage them to subscribe. You could SAVE-A-LiFE. The more we share the greater our impact will be
- You can support those who share their experiences to help, inspire, and give HOPE to others. Please plan to attend and celebrate LiFE with Karlee at Karlee’s Prom on April 28th. You’ve watched The Morning Blend above, now register here to attend her prom.
- On Monday, May 8th, LiFE OF HOPE is hosting a free community educational forum featuring Dr. Thomas Joiner. Continue reading below to learn more. This is your chance to attend a local, free, and educational event. Join us and learn the facts!
Individually none of us are immune to suicide, but together we can strive to prevent it.
Written by: Michelle Cherney